Thank You

By Colleen Cecil, Executive Director
Butte County Farm Bureau News
January/February 2021

We learned many new words and phrases in 2020. Many words and phrases that I would love to never say again, like pandemic and socially distanced. There is however one phrase of two little words that I want to bring attention to as we look forward to 2021. 

Thank you. Simple, kind and full of gratitude if you say it right. 

Thank you to the employees that keep our farms and ranches operating efficiently.

Thank you to the businesses that provide the goods and services that our ag community relies on. 

Thank you to you, the members of the Butte County Farm Bureau, with whom we would have no purpose. 

Thank you to our 1917 Club members for your support and investment in our organization. 

Thank you to our Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee for wanting to be part of something bigger and ensuring the future of agriculture will remain bright. 

Thank you to our Butte County Farm Bureau supporters. To all of the businesses, organizations, families and persons who have sponsored an event, bought a ticket, raised your hand in an auction, ordered a sweatshirt or hat, entered a raffle or placed an ad in our newspaper, thank you. 

Thank you to our committee members for your work and time to ensure the voice of our farmers and ranchers are heard. 

Thank you to our volunteer Butte County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for your time, commitment to our organization and for reading the many emails I send you. You are reading them, right?

Thank you to our Executive Committee – Lee, Walt, Blain, Shawn, Darren and Stacey – for your leadership, for answering the phone when I call and responding to text message questions and concerns. 

Thank you to our staff – Rachel and Heather – for your passion, skill and commitment to our organization and our members. 

Thank you to our families. For my husband Jake, Heather and Rachel’s husbands and the spouses of our Board members. We thank you for your support and endless understanding of the “I have a Farm Bureau thing” phone calls. 

Thank you to 103 years of Butte County Farm Bureau. 

We look forward to visiting with you in 2021, in-person and in Richvale at our temporary offices at 1148 Richvale Hwy, inside the Richvale Irrigation District office building.

Welcome 2021. We’ve been waiting for you. 

Colleen Cecil, Executive Director
Butte County Farm Bureau

New membership categories available

Executive Director Column
By Colleen Cecil
Butte County Farm Bureau News
January/February 2019

It’s a New Year and we are excited to be bringing you a new Butte County Farm Bureau level of membership that will help to make navigating the regulatory framework easier.

As of January 1st, the Butte County Farm Bureau will offer a new level of membership that gives you all the benefits of being a Farm Bureau member and an AgSafe member for one annual price.


You’re probably asking, “who is AgSafe and why should I consider this level of membership?”

If you have taken one of the many education courses we offer here at BCFB over the last three years, you have already interacted with AgSafe. Since 1991 AgSafe has worked alongside food and farming enterprises to help in creating a safe, sustainable workforce and food supply, by providing practical education and resources.

The non-profit organization, AgSafe is headquartered in Modesto and has a “boots on the ground” approach to teaching both the why and how of worker safety, human resources, pesticide safety and food safety. They are your partner in protecting workers in the field, as well as packing, processing and food manufacturing facilities.

The new level of BCFB membership is the Agriculture Safe Membership and it will be $325 a year. Agriculture Safe Members receive all the benefits of a BCFB Agriculture Member plus the benefits of being an AgSafe Micro Member. BCFB Agriculture Safe Members will have access to a 1-800 BCFB Hotline to get answers to any questions or concerns regarding worker safety, HR, pesticide compliance and food safety plus you’ll receive a 15% discount on any AgSafe Workplace Compliance Package.

Do you have an Injury Illness Prevention Plan? How about a Food Safety Plan? Maybe you don’t have an Employee Handbook but know you need one? AgSafe can work with you to create these items that are specific to your operation and your agricultural commodity. Did I mention you get a discount on these additional services because you’re a BCFB Agriculture Safe Member? (I did; just making sure you read it.)

Maybe you still want to learn more? I don’t blame you. First I would encourage you to visit and review what AgSafe offers. As a BCFB Agriculture Safe Member you are going to get a username and password for the AgSafe website that will give you the ability to use and download the hundreds of free resources, webinars and templates that you can put into work on your operation immediately.

Next, you need to attend Grower Day on Wednesday, January 9th at the CSU Chico University Farm and hear from AgSafe CEO Amy Wolfe who will be our keynote speaker. Amy is going to speak to the realities of agricultural compliance and why you need to care about it.

Look for more about Grower Day on page _ of this newspaper. Please make note of our new location for Grower Day, the CSU Chico University Farm. Doors open at 7:30 AM. The coffee will be hot, the donuts will be fresh and our sold out tradeshow of local ag companies will be on hand. I want to give a big thanks to Grower Day Presenting Sponsor Nationwide. We are thankful to Nationwide and all of our sponsors and vendors who help make Grower Day possible and have been incredibly flexible and understanding with our change in date and venue for Grower Day.

Lastly, on behalf of the Butte County Farm Bureau and the Butte Ag Foundation, I want to thank the many who supported the Camp Fire Animal Agriculture Fund. We continue to pray for all who have impacted by the fire and are looking forward to a new year and new beginnings.

Camp Fire Animal Agriculture Assistance Fund

On behalf of the agricultural community of Butte County, the Butte Ag Foundation will accept monetary donations that will be used to feed and maintain the livestock that have been impacted by the Camp Fire.

Large and small animals are currently being housed and cared for at the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley. The extensive and devastating damage of the Camp Fire has all but eliminated the pens, corrals and barns that these animals once called home. It is likely that many will reside at the fairgrounds for weeks after the fire is contained. Donations to the Butte Ag Foundation will be used for feed, supplies, and health needs of the animals that cannot easily be met through other dedicated funds.

Should funds remain after the livestock have been reunited with owners and/or placed in new homes, funds will be used to repair, replace and or upgrade livestock facilities for future crisis use.

The Butte Agriculture Foundation is a 501(c)3 Public Benefit Corporation and supports locally organized agriculture groups and committees to provide the resources and services needed to be successful in the efforts to inform and promote the value of our agrarian community. For more information visit or call (530) 533-1473. You may also email

From the Executive Director

Each issue of the Butte County Farm Bureau Newsletter includes an editorial from Executive Director Colleen Cecil. The following was printed in the September/October 2018 Issue of the Butte County Farm News which is mailed to current members of the Butte County Farm Bureau.


I can now add protester to my resume. So can the approximately 80 others from Butte, Glenn, Tehama, Colusa, Yuba and Sutter County Farm Bureaus who jumped on our two chartered busses and headed for Sacramento on Monday, August 20th for the well-publicized Water Grab Rally that took place on the North steps of the Capitol.

It was a day with mixed emotion for me. I was excited to be participating and as I do when I am excited, I smiled. To add to the energy of the day, I saw many in our industry that I consider friends. People who I had not seen in years; people who I have grown up with and worked alongside. We were all there for the same reason and I was generally happy. But I was reminded by someone taking my picture that I probably shouldn’t look so happy. After all, the reason we were there was not a reason to celebrate. I was and still am down right infuriated over the State Water Boards plan for unimpaired flows on the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.

There is a more factual and detailed article about the Bay Delta Plan Amendment in this newspaper that I encourage you to read to begin to understand the complicated events that have been and will continue to unfold. I however wanted to reflect on the day itself.

More than 1500 people gathered that day. The rally was organized by Assemblyman Adam Gray from the Merced area. The event was important enough that four Congressmen and almost a dozen California Assemblymembers and Senators all addressed those who gathered. Also providing remarks were Central Valley County Supervisors and City Council members.  Each detailing how the unimpaired flows would devastate their already struggling communities.


Assemblymember Gray was the event organizer but it was County Farm Bureau’s that rallied the masses. My colleagues from Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin and the North State County Farm Bureaus listed above, spent about five weeks planning our participation with a weekly conference call hosted by California Farm Bureau.

We worked with CFBF’s legal team to see that fact sheets were developed and made public so we could more easily educate on the complicated topic.  We ordered charter busses and identified pick up stops in major points in our community. We blasted social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – with notification of the rally and encouragement to participate. I even remember the Facebook post that joked about needing a band at the event. The joke was on them as the Merced Unified High School District made it possible for the Atwater High Marching Band to be in attendance at the rally and keep the energy high.

As much as I wish we didn’t have to participate in this rally, I can now look back and say we needed it. We needed to see farmers from the North and the South join voices for the same issue – water. We chanted, we held our handmade and printed signs, we stood with lifelong farmers and the future of our industry as many blue jackets of the FFA participated too. We showed Sacramento’s appointed regulators they can’t divide us and we are not going to just “adjust” to this new regulation like we have for so many others.

We didn’t win but we were heard. The State Water Board has now pushed their decision on the Phase One till November 7, that day after the November election. Negotiations will continue.

I picked up my boys from school late that Monday afternoon and my six year old, who knew I was going to the Capitol in Sacramento for the Water Rally, asked me, “Mom did they take the farmers water today?” I smiled and told him not today, buddy. Not today.

Why haven’t you joined?

By Lee Heringer, Butte County Farm Bureau 1st Vice President

The Butte County Farm Bureau is represented by growers, farmers and ag business owners. We at BCFB are a part of the California Farm Bureau Federation, representing everything in the state from tree crops to timber, livestock to lettuce. Without membership at the local level, the County would be ill represented at the State level. That is the definition of grassroots. The BCFB Board is made up of your friends and neighbors. We reside in the furthest north areas of Vina to the southernmost reaches of Wyandotte sub basin, from the foothills to the east and west to the Sacramento River. We are farmers, ranchers, processors, bankers and ag industry professionals who take the time to study the issues and decide what we believe is the best course of action for our members. The county board is open for anyone who wants to take the time to look at the bigger picture and learn, in much more detail, about the industry that supports us all.

We here locally have been able to foster leadership and advocacy, at the local and state level, for our issues and be vocal enough to be heard. Work is being done every day on your behalf. It may not show sometimes, after all it is an uphill battle in California. The work of educating lawmakers, debating issues with regulators and legislators, lobbying for private property rights and against bur- densome laws and onerous taxes are responsibilities that Farm Bureau, both locally and at the State level, have been taking on for decades. We have a full time staff who work tirelessly on our issues. You’ve seen them on the news and you’ve seen them at meetings. They are hard at work defending our existence.

As we all know, it has become a full time job on the farm to simply remain compliant. Laws spring up every day deal- ing with issues we are all too aware of. The Food Safety Modernization Act for example, requires every farm to have someone on staff trained to recognize potential threats to food safety. This goes into such detail that wildlife intrusion into your fields and employee hand washing are included. Another example is the Farm Evaluation Survey and corresponding Sediment Erosion Plan if appropriate. We are lucky to have an irrigated education coordinator in the Butte County Farm Bureau office. In this capacity we are able to act as a local voice to State regulators, and help guide you through the process using public outreach meetings we’ve all attended, as well as shield you from further scrutiny.

Farming has become more than simply planting, growing, harvesting and selling. It has become a nearly daily battle of defending your right to farm, that what you are doing is important and necessary. There aren’t many industries under such an assault. Those that are have organizations defending their way of life and their livelihoods. We have Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau is known as the organization that is in the room when decisions are made. When there is something being decided upon, we have people in the room voicing our side. We may not win them all, but it’s not from lack of trying.

One cannot put their head down and ignore what’s coming. The State relies on farmers to do just that. They view California agricultures diversity of crops as a negative for us, banking on different segments of this industry fracturing and protecting their own. Many regulations and especially lawsuits are first introduced into the more rural areas without a lot of money or legal availability. The idea is to build up these easy wins while the rest of the State doesn’t pay attention, saying “that’s their problem.” Pretty soon, and with a full head of steam, the legal precedent is set and it is everybody’s problem.

Even if you are not interested in the politics, your membership dues go towards progreams you can benefit from, such as Grower Day, which pro- vides growers with valuable information as well as CE credits for PCA’s, CCA’s and BYS outreach hours. The Drive Thru BBQ’s, where all proceeds go to scholarships for local high school students bound for Ag related higher education.

You may not be the type who wants to speak up and voice your opinion, but it is important to support those who do it for you. You might not agree with everything the Farm Bureau does, but the overall goal is to continue the Butte County legacy of agriculture into the future. Join up and show your support for the industry that literally puts food on the table. Become involved, join the board, read Ag Alert, contribute to FARMPAC. Come to some meetings (it’s not a secret; they are the first Thursday of every month).

For those of you who are already members, we’d like to thank you for your support. You recognize the importance of the work being done behind the scenes advocating for our industry. For those of you who aren’t, I’d like to offer an invitation to join the fight, in whatever capacity you see fit. It’s never too late to join. Our membership coordinator, Amy Alves, can assist you with any questions you may have regarding your membership. Call her at the office or chat with any board member you may run into at the next meeting.

BCFB Statement on Settlement Reached in Duarte Case

For Immediate Release
Colleen Cecil

Statement from Clark Becker, Butte County Farm Bureau President on the settlement reached in Federal case against California Farmer John Duarte:

“I don’t know a single farmer that would have stood up to the Federal Government for as long as John Duarte did. At the same time, we also can’t blame him for settling and protecting his family.”

“When it is your family that would ultimately suffer, you do what you have to do to protect them. The Federal Government assessed the worth of multiple generations of the Duarte family and their agricultural business to threaten John with a penalty so large it would have ruined his life and the lives of his 500 employees and their families. Settling for a lessor penalty was his best case scenario unfortunately, and the Federal Government knew that.”

“We thank John Duarte, Duarte Nursery, Inc. and the Pacific Legal Foundation for keeping the spotlight on the confusing, conflicting and misinterpreted government regulations that businesses are expected to understand and follow and a Federal agency interpreting a clear law to accomplish its own agenda with zero regard for fact, science or humanity.”

Standing Up for Duarte Nursery

On Aug 11, 2017, the Butte County Farm Bureau introduced a challenge to all California County Farm Bureau’s and all State and County Farm Bureau’s in the US to make a donation to the Duarte Legal fund of $10 per agriculture member of each County Farm Bureau.
Butte County Farm Bureau President Clark Becker said, “John Duarte has put his family’s entire livelihood at risk to fight for you – America’s Farmers and Ranchers. He will soon have the opportunity to appeal the judges ruling and it is our turn to support him and stand up to protect our farms.”

What is the issue?
The United States government is prosecuting California farmer John Duarte and Duarte Nursery, Inc. of Hughson California under the Clean Water Act for planting wheat in a wheat field in Tehama County, California. The wetlands in question had been farmed to wheat many times prior, were farmed in the same manner as many hundreds of thousands of other acreages, and are still fully functioning as wetlands.


Plowing is legal under the Clean Water Act, but so far the United States government has successfully argued that plowing is only legal if it does not move soil. The Duarte’s, like other farmers, have yet to understand how plowing can be done without moving soil. If this unprecedented prosecution succeeds, it threatens nearly every farm in the United States.

Who are the Duarte’s?
The Duarte Family is a multigenerational farming family in California. Their main business is Duarte Nursery, Inc. in Hughson, CA, which annually employs up to 700 people and serves over 1,500 farm customers with nursery trees and vines.

What did they do to trigger this prosecution?
In 2012 the Duarte’s planted winter wheat on the property. Wheat plantings and the shallow tillage involved have never triggered regulation, nor required permitting prior to this case. The prosecution got started when a federal bureaucrat confused the shallow 4-6 inch tillage operation with 3-4 feet deep ripping for vineyard or orchard preparation.

In February of 2013 the Duarte’s received a letter from the federal government ordering them to cease and desist all work on the property. The Duartes requested a hearing to establish facts. They were not granted a hearing. Through the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Duartes sued for a Constitutional violation of their Fifth Amendment right to due process. There is direct evidence that this destruction of wetlands suit is in retaliation for the Duartes civil rights action against the government.

What are the penalties being sought?
$2.8M in direct penalty, loss of use of their land, and $20-$30 million in additional mitigation paid to a private third-party organization. These penalties are not based on environmental harm, but rather on the government’s assessment of how much it can squeeze from the Duartes. No farmer or investor in farming could afford these kinds of penalties for a mere wheat crop.

What wetlands are jurisdictional under the CWA?
The Clean Water Act regulates “navigable water of the United States … ” Courts and agencies have greatly expanded what most would consider navigable waters, to include large areas of property that are bone-dry most of the year, except for when they pool small amounts of water in the wet season.

This prosecution is brought under the rules that existed before the Obama Administration promulgated the new rule in 2015- the “WOTUS Rule”- expanding the Clean Water Act. That WOTUS Rule has been stayed by the federal courts, and the Trump Administration has formally proposed the new rule’s repeal. In other words, Duarte is being prosecuted under the definition of “navigable waters” that existed before the Obama Administration’s rule, and which would exist if the Trump Administration is successful in repealing that new rule.

Aren’t farming practices excluded from CWA enforcement?
Yes. Originally very broadly. Federal agencies are attempting to greatly narrow the original intent to include only lands that are continuously farmed to the same or similar crops, and then only if that farming does not involve moving soil. This is unworkable for farmers who must plow their land to plant crops, and adapt to markets. Wheat prices were very low for decades until the global food shortages that occurred between 2009 and 2013. We can recall tortilla riots in Mexico City, the Arab Spring and high food inflation with low wage growth during this period. This narrow interpretation is not only unworkable for farmer; it also threatens national food security and is anti-human.

What are the civil rights issues?
The case started with a Fifth Amendment Due Process claim that asserted that the Duartes had a right to an impartial hearing before they could be deprived of their right to farm their land.

The destruction of wetlands counterclaim was justified by a Federal attorney with the statement, “They’re suing us so we are suing them back.” This is a First Amendment free speech violation against the Duartes.

The Eighth Amendment is usually noted for protection against cruel and unusual punishment yet also protects us from ruinous fines. The prosecution’s stated penalties in this case are clearly aimed at being ruinous.

What has the Judge ruled so far?
That Duartes shallow tillage violated the Clean Water Act, and that the federal government is immune from suit even when it violates constitutional rights.

This doesn’t sound right. Is there more to the story?
No. It really is just a wheat field with 4-7 inch tillage. Field tours are available.

The Duarte Nursery, Inc legal and lobbying teams are in full operation. In California, the legal team is preparing for trial, which begins August 15, 2017. This will be a $500k effort alone.

In Washington DC, the Duarte Nursery Inc. lobbying team is working to access multiple agencies in the Trump administration. This is an additional costly effort.

The Pacific Legal Foundation is prosecuting the Constitutional claims against the U.S. government.

The California Farm Bureau Federation has created the Duarte Defense Account, which has received over $100K in donations from Farm Bureaus and other agriculture advocacy groups nationwide. The Butte County Farm Bureau Challenge will ask for funds to be submitted to the California Farm Bureau Federation for collection and distribution.

If you wish to donate via the Butte County Farm Bureau/California Farm Bureau, donate online here or mail your donations to :
California Farm Bureau Federation
2300 River Plaza Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833
Check Memo Line: Duarte/Tehama Wetland Defense Fund

Protect the Harvest Foundation will be coordinating additional private donations to the Duarte Nursery, Inc. defense.

Donations are being accepted at Go Fund Me.

Resources: Duarte Tehema – Duarte Stands Up Facebook Page


Friday Review – 4.7

Stay up to date with important news of the week with the weekly Friday Review.

California Legislature votes to raise gas taxes, vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year for road repairs and transit [Los Angeles Times]

After a week of fierce debate between opposing interests, the state Legislature on Thursday approved a plan to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year to pay for the repair of California’s pothole-ridden, decaying system of roads, highways and bridges. The bill squeaked through the Senate on a 27-11 vote and cleared the Assembly with 54 votes, the bare minimum required in both houses. The measure sparked suspenseful wrangling in the waning hours of Thursday, with Assembly Democrats initially three votes short of securing the two-thirds threshold needed to approve a new tax. Ultimately, all but one Assembly Democrat, Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), backed the bill. View Article

Salinas Valley ag industry coalition agrees to pilot replacement drinking water program [Monterey County Herald]

A coalition of 21 Salinas Valley landowners, agricultural companies and operators have reached an agreement with state water regulators to provide replacement drinking water for some 850 rural Salinas Valley residents whose small water systems and domestic wells have been contaminated with nitrates. Without admitting responsibility for the contamination, the Salinas Basin Agricultural Stewardship Group has agreed in cooperation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to supply drinking water for up to two years starting this month to those whose water exceeds state and federal nitrate standards, according to a release issued Thursday. View Article

Environmental groups suing EPA over allowing continued use of controversial pesticide [Capital Public Radio]

Environmental groups are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to allow the continued use of a controversial pesticide, widely used on crops in California. The groups say the EPA needs to ban Chlorpyrifos….Cynthia Cory with the California Farm Bureau says her organization is happy with the recent move by the EPA. She says the bureau wants five years for risk assessment, even if that means restrictions will eventually be put in place. “We’ll live with that as long as we’re doing it not in the courts but with the scientists and the risk-assessment process,” says Cory. View Article

We Are Farm Bureau – Clark Becker

Farm Bureau members get involved for various reasons. For some it’s benefits, others it’sClark and Kourtney - small
the advocacy or even the networking opportunities. Current Butte County Farm Bureau President, Clark Becker joined Farm Bureau for the discount he received on his Worker’s Compensation Insurance. However, he quickly learned there is much more to Farm Bureau than discounts.

“The biggest benefit of being a Farm Bureau member is all the resources that we have to keep our industry in the fight,” said Becker. “Without Farm Bureau, the regulations that we all complain about now would be so much greater and we would not be able to stay in business. Whether it be at the local, State or Federal level Farm Bureau is there fighting for us.”

His passion for agriculture began as a child growing up on a small walnut ranch in Gridley. Before he started farming on his own, Becker attended California State University, Chico where he earned a bachelor of science in agriculture business. After college, he and a friend started farming rice and a custom spraying operation.

“My father farmed rice until I was five and the farming bug was stuck to me,” said Becker. “I enjoyed working in our orchard and often couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could go drive some type of equipment on the ranch.”

Becker relies on Farm Bureau to be an accurate resource of information for his daily farming operation. He often calls Butte and California Farm Bureau Federation staff for help in addressing issues and knows there is always somewhere there to answer his questions or take the time to find the right answer.

“The resources that Farm Bureau brings are endless and will be a huge asset to you if you so choose to use them,” said Becker “All of us pay some type of assessment on the crops we grow that goes to supporting only that commodity. Only Farm Bureau is there fighting for all of agriculture.”

Though being the president of Butte County Farm Bureau takes a lot of his time, Clark, his wife of 20 years Kourtney and their three boys, Jackson, Charlie and George farm walnuts in Gridley and rice in Butte, Colusa, Yolo and Yuba counties. He is also partners in a wetland restoration and land leveling business that works on duck clubs and ranches across Northern California. In his spare time, he also enjoys spending time with his family snowmobiling in the winter, Jeeping in the summer and hauling his son George to High School Rodeos.

Are You a Farm Bureau Member?

A letter from Darren Rice, Butte County Farm Bureau 1st Vice President

The Butte County Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization led by farmers and ranchers –Darren the people you know. In fact, one of your neighbors is probably on our Board of Directors.

But what does grassroots organization mean? 2016 is a perfect year to reflect on what it means to be a grassroots organization. In 2015 the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) passed the California Legislature. SGMA put in motion a requirement for counties to establish a sustainable groundwater management plan in phases. 2016 was the year that Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA) were established to come together in 2017 to start working on what the groundwater management plan for Butte County may look like.

The GSA’s represent the people in their areas in the SGMA process. So who are your GSA’s? The irrigation districts were eligible and applied to be GSA’s, however that left a large portion of Butte County growers out of the conversation. Those not farming in and paying into a surface water irrigation district where to be represented by the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation (the County). Concerned growers in the “White Area’s” weren’t being adequately represented, the BCFB pulled members of the agriculture community together to advocate for their need to be represented. This resulted in the formation of the Groundwater Pumpers Advisory Committee (GPAC) to advise the County going forward in how they feel the groundwater management plan should look and to ensure ALL growers are represented.

That is what it means to be grassroots. To start from the bottom, gather people and work together to represent agriculture and growers. That is what Farm Bureau does for you every day.

We work vigorously here in Butte County and Sacramento talking, educating and providing information to County supervisors, legislators and regulators by advocating for farmers, Ag businesses, property rights, water rights and to protect growers from excess taxes like oppressively burdensome laws. We advocate for common sense solutions.

You can no longer afford to just skim the surface of information in front of you. Farming has changed and will never be the same as it was when our fathers and grandfathers were farming. Keeping up with the deadlines and requirements of regulation and rules most of which are government related are going to be part of your daily farming and ranching requirements. People often call the BCFB office and ask “how do you get rid of this regulation?” The short answer is you can’t. We as farmers have a tremendous talent of ignoring an issue until it’s pushed in our face; we can’t do that anymore. Many of the regulations we are burdened with start in small areas. The rest of agriculture turns a blind eye and says “oh that’s that areas problem, it doesn’t affect me.” That’s not true! State agencies and environmental organizations have a time and time again, used the strategy of starting small and ultimately spreading the regulation or law suit across the State. It works because ag traditionally does not unite. It’s time for that to change.

So what can you do? It’s simple: Join Farm Bureau. It’s time for ag to get back to its grassroots, come together from the ground up and effect change. If we all joined together, we would be unstoppable. No more balking at commodity or political boundaries. We need to work together. Coming together, joining our roots to hold each other up is how we are going to be able to protect our future and ensure stability for future generations.

Farm Bureau represents all of agriculture and is the best resource to help you fight for your farm. Though you may have been at odds with certain positions in the past, it’s time to look past that and look towards the future. Get involved! And Farm Bureau can help you so you are not navigating the complicated regulatory systems alone. There is literally an alphabet soup of programs and agencies who are all looking to get something from you. The BIT program DPR, WDR, CVFPP, BRCP, SGMA, CUPA, NMP, SALC and WOTUS. I could go on but I won’t.

I tell you this not because I want to elevate your blood pressure. I want you to understand the need to pay attention, be engaged and keep informed. But how? Open every envelope, read every industry email, newsletter and alert, follow your commodity groups Facebook page, make notes on the margins of Ag Alert and don’t be afraid of conference calls, webinars and podcasts. Learn to use tools like California Farm Bureau Federation Farm Team to communicate quickly and effectively with your elected officials.

As a Farm Bureau member, you have access to lots of information. Please take time to attend the many classes Butte County Farm Bureau offers like heat illness prevention, safety training, CPR training, hazmat transportation, nitrogen management plan self-certification and Grower Day.

At the beginning of this column I talked about SGMA. I wish I could tell you that was the only issue of concern for the Farm Bureau. We continue to fight the invasion of commercial marijuana, the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program continues to change and require more reporting, heat illness requirements, over time pay, minimum wage, you name it! The issues keep coming and we want to be a reliable resource for growers.

We are your advocate and your partner with the rest of the more than 1300 Butte County Farm Bureau members. If you are a member, thank you for your commitment and belief in Farm Bureau. If you are not a member, please consider joining our Farm Bureau. Please call Kayla Wheeler at 530-533-1473 and she can answer your questions and help you get signed up. You can also join online or print and mail an application.

What are you waiting for?